ProPublica: How a Federal Agency Excluded Thousands of Viable Businesses From Pandemic Relief

ProPublica: How a Federal Agency Excluded Thousands of Viable Businesses From Pandemic Relief. “Like every other storefront in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska, the Coffee House — a cavernous student hangout slinging espresso and decadent pastries since 1987 — saw its revenue dry up almost overnight last spring when the coronavirus pandemic made dining indoors a deadly risk. Unlike most, however, the business wouldn’t have access to the massive loan fund that Congress made available for small enterprises in late March.”

The Invisible Hand: Personal Income, Consumer Spending rise significantly with the help of federal aid

The Invisible Hand: Personal Income, Consumer Spending rise significantly with the help of federal aid. “Personal income surged in January as Americans received $600 stimulus checks, leading to new optimism about the nation’s recovery from the pandemic. The monthly report issued by the Bureau of Economic Analysis for January noted a personal income increase of 10%, the second largest on record, was aided by federal stimulus checks and a $300 a week boost to unemployment benefits. Consumer spending had an increase of 2.4%, while the savings rate continued to rise at an extraordinary rate topping 20.5% for the month. ”

Tracking the money: Bid to make business rescue more inclusive undercut by lack of data (Politico)

Politico: Tracking the money: Bid to make business rescue more inclusive undercut by lack of data. “The Small Business Administration, which runs the Paycheck Protection Program, is facing massive data gaps in how more than $660 billion in loans have been distributed because it does not require business owners to report demographic information when they apply for aid. It only began asking new applicants to voluntarily report the data in January, nine months after the program was launched.”

Washington Post: The Trump administration bailed out prominent anti-vaccine groups during a pandemic

Washington Post: The Trump administration bailed out prominent anti-vaccine groups during a pandemic. “Five prominent anti-vaccine organizations that have been known to spread misleading information about the coronavirus received more than $850,000 in loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, raising questions about why the government is giving money to groups actively opposing its agenda and seeking to undermine public health during a critical period.”

NBC News: Accused hate groups receive pandemic aid

NBC News: Accused hate groups receive pandemic aid. “Fourteen organizations designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Anti-Defamation League have received funding from the Paycheck Protection Program totaling $4.3 million, according to data released last week by the Small Business Administration, revealing who benefited from the pandemic federal relief funds.”

Washington Post: More than half of emergency small-business funds went to larger businesses, new data shows

Washington Post: More than half of emergency small-business funds went to larger businesses, new data shows. “More than half of the money from the Treasury Department’s coronavirus emergency fund for small businesses went to just 5 percent of the recipients, according to data on more than 5 million loans that was released by the government Tuesday evening in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit. According to data on the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), about 600 mostly larger companies, including dozens of national chains, received the maximum amount allowed under the program of $10 million.”

Wall Street Journal: Hundreds of Companies That Got Stimulus Aid Have Failed

Wall Street Journal: Hundreds of Companies That Got Stimulus Aid Have Failed. “About 300 companies that received as much as half a billion dollars in pandemic-related government loans have filed for bankruptcy, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of government data and court filings. Many of the companies, which employ a total of about 23,400 workers, say the funds from the Paycheck Protection Program weren’t enough to keep them going as the coronavirus and lack of additional stimulus payments weighed on their businesses.”

No forgiveness: Small businesses still on hook for rescue loans (Politico)

Politico: No forgiveness: Small businesses still on hook for rescue loans. “When the government pledged to give small businesses billions of dollars in rescue loans during the pandemic, it was an offer almost too good to refuse: The loans could be forgiven if employers only maintained payroll. In little more than four months, the Paycheck Protection Program doled out $525 billion in loans to 5.2 million borrowers, which economists estimate saved millions of jobs. But to date, none of the loans have been forgiven.”

‘Doomed to fail’: Why a $4 trillion bailout couldn’t revive the American economy (Washington Post)

Washington Post: ‘Doomed to fail’: Why a $4 trillion bailout couldn’t revive the American economy. “The U.S. response to the coronavirus has already been the costliest economic relief effort in modern history. At $4 trillion, the assortment of grants, loans and tax breaks exceeded the cost of the Afghanistan war. More than half, or $2.3 trillion, went to businesses which in many cases were not required to show they were impacted by the pandemic or keep workers employed.”

Washington Post: How the Cares Act poured millions into corporate hands with no strings attached

Washington Post: How the Cares Act poured millions into corporate hands with no strings attached. “For pipeline company Antero Midstream, a firm at the forefront of the Appalachian fracking boom, the mammoth stimulus bill known as the Cares Act delivered a quick and happy benefit: a $55 million payment from the Treasury Department. The payment came with no strings attached. And although the legislation was partly tailored to help businesses keep people employed, Antero didn’t need to agree to hire or retain any workers. It didn’t need to promise to invest in its business. And it didn’t need to pledge to meet any new regulatory standards.”

ACAMS News: FinCEN Director Discusses COVID-19 Fraud Schemes, Suspicious Activity Reports

ACAMS News: FinCEN Director Discusses COVID-19 Fraud Schemes, Suspicious Activity Reports. “U.S. financial institutions have filed more than 91,000 SARs on potentially illicit payments related to the novel coronavirus pandemic since February, Ken Blanco, director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, said Tuesday. The bureau has also received ‘hundreds of inquiries’ related to anti-money laundering compliance issues during the pandemic, including questions about the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, a $669 billion federal relief package designed to help struggling businesses pay their employees, Blanco told attendees of the ACAMS Virtual Las Vegas Conference.”

US Department of Justice: NFL Player Charged for Role in $24 Million COVID-Relief Fraud Scheme

US Department of Justice: NFL Player Charged for Role in $24 Million COVID-Relief Fraud Scheme. “A National Football League (NFL) player has been charged for his alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $24 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.”

Department of Justice: Nine Charged with $24 Million COVID-Relief Fraud Scheme

Department of Justice: Nine Charged with $24 Million COVID-Relief Fraud Scheme. “The owner of a Florida talent management company and four others were charged in complaints unsealed yesterday for their alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $24 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.”